Re: YouTube of Billy Bob Thornton being rude to a radio host:
Internet commentariat consensus is that BBT was out of line. This blog differs; it is highly pleasurable to watch BBT upset a bland smoothie from the mass media. The host has a mediocre corporate style and asks predictable questions; he deserves the hassle in what must be a rare occurrence for him.
Stipulated: (1) BBT is a musician, not an actor who plays music (this post isn't about the merits of BBT's art but whether an artist's self-assessment of that merit deserves a shake). (2) BBT's agents negotiated the interview and an agreement was reached: no questions about BBT's cinema career, only his band. (3) BBT is "rude" during the interview, in the sense of impeding a flow of polite conversation.
Yet it's the radio host who breaks the agreement from the outset, introducing BBT with cliche crap like "music is his first love" and "he got sidetracked with a cinema career." Our culture is drowning in this kind of obvious PR pablum.
Scarily at first but gradually more amusingly as we learn what's going on, BBT responds to the host's questions with non sequiturs and hostile "I don't knows." He tells a long, slow story about reading Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine as a youth ("edited by the late Forrest J. Ackerman"), completely ignoring the question it ostensibly answers.
The host has other members of BBT's band to talk to, but keeps coming back to BBT. He can't seem to believe a famous guest is dissing him on his own show. His ego is obviously ruffled and instead of, say, talking intelligently about music, he uses all his air time making this unruly churl explain himself.
Ultimately BBT has to tell him why he is angry. The host says "You're mad because I mentioned your film career?" D'oh.
The power struggle here intrigues. Lesser known musicians typically butter up TV and radio show hosts. BBT has entertainment industry muscle, and uses it for an on-air tantrum over a principle--his right to be taken as seriously as an artist as he takes himself--to the obvious discomfort of his mostly affable fellow band members. Music newbies have to suffer through interviews with self-important hosts; BBT has already paid his dues in another field. In fact, it's the very field he does not want mentioned and (wrongly) believed he had the clout not to have brought up. The fact of his celebrity bends space and time: likely the interviewer would not have asked the sole surly member of a no-name group any follow-up questions.
A good music show host would have had fun with the "mystery guest" and talked shop with someone who claims, at least, to be a musicologist of psychedelic and country bands. This was a media hack, though. BBT, by contrast, is the one entertaining person at a table full of barely articulate platitude mouthers (his fellow musicians are bricks, sorry).
In conclusion, he deserves some slack.
(YouTube via Singe)
Coming soon: a defense of Joaquin Phoenix's rap career.